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Etisalat acquires another 14% in Tanzania's Zantel
[April 18, 2010]

Etisalat acquires another 14% in Tanzania's Zantel

(Gulf News (United Arab Emirates) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Etisalat raises stake in Tanzania Abu Dhabi Etisalat announced yesterday it has acquired an additional 14 per cent in Tanzania's Zanzibar Telecom (Zantel) for $16 million (Dh58.8 million), an investment the company hopes will help lower its revenue stream's reliance on the UAE market.

Etisalat's stake in Zantel now stands at 65 per cent, according to the company's statement to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange. The company had last increased its stake in Zantel by 17 per cent in October, 2007.

Zantel provides mobile, fixed-line, and internet services to the Tanzanian market. In a meeting with reporters last month, Etisalat's Chief Financial Officer Salem Al Sharhan said his company is looking to expand its operations overseas in order to diversify its revenues.

"The future is in data, information services and internet," Al Sharhan said. "Abroad, we will continue to look for opportunities everywhere. We will consider every market where we think we can be profitable." Zantel is Tanzania's fourth-largest among six mobile network operators with 1.4 million active subscribers at the end of 2009, or 8 per cent market share, according to Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority data. Vodacom leads the market with a 39 per cent share.

Etisalat's stake increase in Zantel comes after paying $75 million (Dh276 million) in February to complete the acquisition of Atlantique Telecom, a company with majority ownership of operators in seven West African countries, and filing to raise its stake in its Indian subsidiary from 45 to 50 per cent.

In March, etisalat Chairman Mohammad Omran said the company is eyeing the Algerian and Malaysian markets for possible acquisitions. Etisalat is looking to increase the share of its revenues from international operations to 20 per cent in the next two years compared to 14 per cent at the end of last year.

Etisalat reported a 4 per cent increase in 2009 profit to Dh8.8 billion and a 34 per cent increase in total mobile subscribers to 107 million. The number of UAE subscribers, responsible for the bulk of those profits, rose by just 6 per cent to 7.7 million.

 (c) 2009 Al Nisr Publishing LLC . All rights reserved. Provided by an company

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